[csaa-forum] collaborative publications

Deb Verhoeven deb.verhoeven at deakin.edu.au
Mon Sep 1 14:26:11 CST 2014

Hi everyone,
As someone who routinely co-publishes I appreciate the complexity that arises from the various permutations and combinations that constitute contemporary research practices.

I've attached a copy of the Vancouver protocols which are clear on the minimum requirements for authorship attribution and which I use as a guide for most of my publications:

"All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content.

Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to 1) conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data; and to 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and on 3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met. Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Any part of an article critical to its main conclusions must be the responsibility of at least one author."

There shouldn't be any distinction made on the basis of relative payment (RAs) or academic register (PhD students). At Deakin it is a requirement of the candidacy induction process that publication attribution is discussed by the supervisor and student.

Interestingly in my experience the key issue in humanities student publications is the common failure to acknowledge the supervisor in relation to the Vancouver principles (rather than the reverse).

There are further issues arising from the move to increased recognition of co-authorship in the humanities  which deserve discussion - principally around the lag in institutional recognition. At Deakin for example multiple authorship is granted only a fractional point allocation in research metrics (i.e. If there are 2 authors each receives only 0.5 of the research allocation).



From: Holly Randell-Moon <holly.randell-moon at otago.ac.nz<mailto:holly.randell-moon at otago.ac.nz>>
Date: Monday, 1 September 2014 2:44 PM
To: Sam Carroll <samantha at samanthacarroll.com<mailto:samantha at samanthacarroll.com>>
Cc: "<csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>>" <csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>>
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] collaborative publications

Hi All,

This is an interesting discussion, I'd follow Hazel's suggestion that co-authorship relates to a shared conception of the theoretical approach and argument for a particular research topic as well as drafting and critically revising the finished piece of work. In my experience as an RA, I was awarded co-authorship on all the projects I was involved with and given encouragement to develop an article or area of research under my own lead. This was discussed before I took the projects on and perhaps my experiences here are not commonplace but I couldn't imagine doing RA work and not being given a co-author credit and as an academic I wouldn't expect an RA to collate research materials and set up a project without getting any 'reward' other than money. RAs effectively give up their own working time to conduct and contribute research for someone else so why shouldn't they be named co-authors? Anyway, just my two cents.


On 1/09/2014, at 4:30 PM, Sam Carroll <samantha at samanthacarroll.com<mailto:samantha at samanthacarroll.com>>

I'd be really curious to see just how many staff members discuss this openly and approachably with students before the projects begin. And how many students feel ok about objecting to dodgy arrangements. And whether these arrangements are revisited later, as students gain a better understanding of the working relationship and benefits of joint authorship.

Do you have specific models for this sort of discussion? Do students know what they can ask for, in terms of acknowledgement of work?

Darren's comments about 'owning' the research done by paid assistants is interesting, as in many science faculties phd scholarships are paid by the researchers' grants (and the students work on a project dictated by the supervisor), and so phd students become 'paid assistants'.

On 01/09/2014, at 2:19 PM, Hazel Ferguson wrote:


Thanks for raising this.

I work on the basis that in the absence of other explicit agreement at the outset of a project, authorship should signify contribution to all of:

  1.  the conception and design of the research
  2.  the analysis and interpretation of research materials
  3.  the drafting of significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.


From: Darren Jorgensen <darren.jorgensen at uwa.edu.au<mailto:darren.jorgensen at uwa.edu.au>>
Date: Monday, 1 September 2014 1:51 pm
To: Jon Stratton <J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au<mailto:J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au>>, "csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>" <csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>>
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] collaborative publications

hi Jon

I use money as a guide. If I employ someone as an RA, it's not a collaboration since I am basically exploiting them and thus 'own' the research. A genuine collaboration however is one in which I am not paying anyone, and in which we share the direction of the research. In these cases I may pay someone else's research expenses for example for travel but not a wage, and will co-author with them.

It's still murky! darren
Darren Jorgensen, art history, University of Western Australia

From: Andrew Murphie <andrew.murphie at gmail.com<mailto:andrew.murphie at gmail.com>>
Reply-To: "andrew.murphie at gmail.com<mailto:andrew.murphie at gmail.com>" <andrew.murphie at gmail.com<mailto:andrew.murphie at gmail.com>>
Date: Monday, 1 September 2014 11:36 AM
To: Jon Stratton <J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au<mailto:J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au>>
Cc: "csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>" <csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>>
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] collaborative publications

Hi Jon,

thanks for bringing this up. A facetious answer might be that we all should just become scientists—it seems increasingly what is wanted. A less facetious version of the same is exactly what you point to. There are no well established understandings/conventions for this in the humanities, as there are in science, all along the line (from research to write up). A third thing to emphasise (again I'm just repeating what you've already pointed out) is that we perhaps have to admit that there we have a different understanding of collaboration in the humanities, because collaboration is different, as you point out. We also have no standard frameworks for collaboration. There is no standard model (and I'm involved in a lot of collaborative work).

My view would be that a forced accounting for collaboration along the lines of the sciences would be a gigantic mess all around—one indeed forced by the new forms of accounting we are increasingly subjected to. Genuine collaboration however is much easier. If there has been collaboration (beyond, for example, me taking more credit for my PhD supervisee's work—which I find deeply troubling from a number of angles, as I'm sure they would, rightly) it is currently labelled as such.

Not much help perhaps but I'm troubled by these new requirements and not sure that we really can fit them without changing what we do in undesired ways.


all the best, Andrew

On 1 September 2014 13:21, Jon Stratton <J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au<mailto:J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au>> wrote:

 Hi All,
    I'm wondering what opinions are on what is enough work to legitimately claim joint authorship for an article/chapter.  Increasingly we in Humanities are being asked by our universities to publish jointly, either with our doctoral students or with our Research Assistants, or indeed with each other.  This, we are constantly told, is what happens in the sciences and we are enjoined to behave similarly.  I have assumed that this is supposed to increase our research output.

Now, in the sciences, as I understand it, joint publication is relatively straightforward.  A senior staff member develops a project on which s/he employs one or more RAs or postgrads.  The results are then published under all their names with, most likely, the senior staff member having her/his name first as lead author.

In Humanities things are different.  So, how much work by one person, say the staff member, constitutes enough of a contribution for her/him to be included as an author?  For example, would doing one or more Track Changes on an article/chapter be enough?  What about if the idea for the article is the staff member's?  Would a first drafting, or redrafting be what is required?  What about suggesting the most appropriate journal to send the article to, and helping the RA/postgrad through the submission and, maybe, the revision process?  Or, perhaps, simply the fact of employing the RA on a project where funding has been obtained by the staff member--which might equate with being the supervisor for a postgrad submitting an article?  Or, what combination of these things?

Because collaborative work has been so rare in the Humanities there seems to be no normative rules for what is the appropriate amount of input.  I am wondering how colleagues are dealing with this relatively new situation.

many thanks,

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